[kwlug-disc] Creative Mornings

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Sat Apr 26 16:42:46 EDT 2014

On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 03:10:53PM -0400, Chamunks Arkturus wrote:
> If someone was to ask how to get a monthly meeting over an special interest
> what would the KWLUG-Desc list say.

> Things like where to host.

The hard part tends to be finding meeting space. We are fortunate in
that we get meeting space for free. 

If there is a shared understanding that everybody will purchase
food/drinks, then sometimes restaurants and bars are amenable to
meetings. We tried this for a while when we lost 43 Queen Street and
met at the Huether Hotel instead, but it did not work out (which was
largely my fault). 

If you are looking for rental meeting spaces you need to fundraise
costs and/or insurance.

If your meeting is geared towards a specific industry then sometimes
you can find some corporate headquarters. 

The Android user group started out by meeting at one of the member's
houses, which I think worked well to grow the membership to a point
where they could think about bigger venues and more structure. 

> Stuff to watch out for.

Some people feel very strongly that you need a lot of organization
(constitution, board, membership rules, even incorporation) up front.
My own feeling is that it is more important to just find someplace to
meet and get started first. The problem with this is that power tends
to get concentrated in the hands of a few people.

On that note, unless you want to get stuck with doing all the
organizing yourself you are probably best off finding at least one
(and preferably two or three) people who are as committed as you are
to seeing this group happen. That makes sharing the organizational
burden much easier. 

You should figure out how much capital it will cost to run this group.
As unsolicited said, we have avoided membership fees and "icky money",
but this has definitely had negative consequences.

I feel that it is important to have a meeting every single month, and
preferably to have a topic every single month. Once you skip your
first meeting you are in trouble, because then it becomes easier to
skip a second meeting. Once you start heading down the path of
"informal discussion" you really reduce the incentive for newcomers to
join the group. 

You probably should not follow my advice too closely, because although
we have been long-lived the group is kind of moribund. Honestly I
wonder whether user groups really make sense any more. When people
want information they find it online, and half the time people attend
the meeting and just use the wifi to do other things instead of being
present for the presentations. (Oh boy. I just got a whole lot of
people upset with me, even though I am guilty of this too. I hope this
means attendance does not drop further now.) 

> Places to promote to.

meetup.com seems to have the momentum locally. It provides
infrastructure and eyeballs, and is pretty heavily used here. (I have
idly speculated whether we might revive the group by spending the
$12/month to recruit people there.)

The Watcamp calendar is a pretty comprehensive listing of local tech
meetups (Thank you Bob) but I do not know how many eyeballs it gets.

We are lucky enough to get free mailing list and web hosting (Thank
you CCj/Clearline) but not everybody is so lucky. If you don't mind
your members being tracked then you can probably find gratis hosting
resources for these kinds of things. 

- Paul


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